Applying for 8(a) Social Disadvantage Waiver

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In the article published on March 26, 2014, I wrote about the Social Disadvantage Requirements by the SBA to become an 8(a) participant. But what if you are not a member of one of the presumed socially Disadvantaged groups? Can you still apply? The simple answer is YES, but there are a few extra steps which need to be explained to the SBA.

The SBA presumes that African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans are socially disadvantaged. However, other individuals may similarly be found socially disadvantaged and eligible for the program on a case-by-case basis.

An individual who is not a member of one of the presumed groups can be admitted into the 8(a) Business Development program.  To do so, the business must prove to SBA that the individual(s) meeting SBA’s ownership and control requirements is socially disadvantaged. This process includes showing personal experiences where applicable in education, employment, and business history.

The individual must provide evidence to SBA proving one’s individual social disadvantage.

Evidence of individual social disadvantage must include:

  • At least one distinguishing feature such as race, ethnic origin, gender, physical handicap, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society, or other similar causes not common to individuals who are not socially disadvantaged.
  • Personal experiences of social disadvantage in American society, not in other countries.
  • Negative impact on the individual’s entrance into the business world or advancement in the business world because of the stated disadvantage(s).

* A detailed description of each of the bullet points must be given along with proof of examples and documents such as letters from reputable sources. To prove social disadvantage, the individual(s) owners must ultimately show that such personal experiences had a negative impact on entry into or advancement in the business world.

Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.

8(a) Economically Disadvantaged Explained

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The SBA 8(a) Certification, like other Certifications have rules an guidelines which each business must qualify for prior to applying. Below is the clarification on the Economically Disadvantaged Rule.

 Economically Disadvantaged:

A. Personal Income- The SBA requires that the Individual claiming Disadvantage must have a Personal Income less than $250,000 on average for the past 3 years. If the 3 year average is greater than $250k you are no eligible. Once admitted in to the program, this threshold increases to $350,000.

B. Personal Net Worth- The individual claiming disadvantage must not have a Personal Net Worth greater than $250,000. This does not include, the equity you possess in your personal residence, any retirement accounts you have or the equity in your business. The reason for this being, all of these assets are assumed to be used for your business at one time or another. However, if you do own Investment properties or other business, the equity in each will be calculated toward your personal net worth.


Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.


Waiver of the SBA 8(a) 2 year rule



For those applying for the SBA 8(a) Business Development program, you have heard of the 2 year rule. In this article I will be discussing the 5 steps an individual needs to take to waive the 2 year rule.

Not all businesses need to be in business for 2 years to apply for the 8(a) program. Some individuals may feel the need to become a part of the program prior to 2 years. The SBA feels that 2 years is a good amount of time for a business to gain experience and have enough revenue to participate successfully in the 8(a) program. But what if you dont have 2 years under your belt? What do you do? Do you wait or do you apply?

The SBA has 5 requirements that they recommend a business possesses when applying under the 2 year rule.

They Are:

1.        The individual or individuals upon whom eligibility is based have substantial business management experience.

2.        The applicant has demonstrated technical experience to carry out its business plan with a substantial likelihood for success if                         admitted to the 8(a) BD program.

3.        The applicant has adequate capital to sustain its operations and carry out its business plan as a Participant.

4.        The applicant has a record of successful performance on contracts from governmental or nongovernmental sources in its                                 primary industry category; and

5.        The applicant has, or can demonstrate its ability to timely obtain, the personnel, facilities, equipment, and any other requirements               needed to perform contracts as a Participant.

Please visit our website at to learn more about our services.


Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.

The SBA’s Narrative Statement of Social Disadvantage.


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The SBA requires all applicant to complete a Narrative of Social disadvantage. In this article, I will be discussing the following.

1. What is the Narrative Statement of Social Disadvantage?

2. Why does the SBA require it?

3. How should you write it?

1. What is the Narrative Statement of Social Disadvantage?

The Narrative Statement of Social Disadvantage is a story an applicant writes about themselves on instances in their life where they have experienced some type of set back due to their racial background. To prove social disadvantage, the individual(s) owners must ultimately show that such personal experiences had a negative impact on entry into or advancement in the business world.

2. Why does doe SBA require it?

The SBA states that certain minority groups are designated as socially disadvantaged. That is, these groups throughout the course of history, are believed to have experienced racism. Of course, not everyone experiences this, and those who have, unfortunate as that may be, need to explain how and why to be eligible for the 8(a) program. The 8(a) program, as sated in our last articles, helps level the paying field for minorities, giving them greater opportunities to complete in a more fair playing field.

3. How Should You Write It?

The answer here is simple. Truthfully. Successful narratives are written starting with their childhood experiences, leading up to college and finally in the work force. I met with a Mexican American client today, and he didn’t quite understand how he was socially disadvantaged. Initially he could not think of any stories, but after asking him a few simple questions on his high school years and his career, he began to think of specific moments in his life that he at first did not realize what were inevitably socially inappropriate remarks by his peers. For example, accusations of fraud based on his skin color was one. A second was a teacher thinking he was cheating because he earned a high score on an exam. He was asked to retake the test in a separate room and scored an A. The teacher never questioned him again. Traumatic. I know.

Unfortunately, it’s stories like these that have kept minorities from excelling in this great country and these stories need to be told. Hence, the SBA wants to make certain that individuals applying for the 8(a) Certification have been one time or another Socially Disadvantaged.


Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.

Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. 818-551-9400

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Most people don’t understand how becoming certified as an 8(a) firm can help propel their business to the next stage of success. Becoming approved as an 8(a) firm is like being in a fraternity or sorority. Those who have had those great experiences in college know that it is a brotherhood or sisterhood. They help each other, can understand each others needs and struggles etc. To date, there are only 10,000 approved 8(a) firms in the Unites States. You can just imagine from all the millions of Small Business in the United States what a small fraction that is. That being said, let’s get down and dirty with some hard core facts about why Minority owned businesses need to get certified.

The 8(a) program was created in order to give minority owned business a fair opportunity to bid against larger firms. The United States Government feels that Minorities in this country have not had the same opportunities that non-minorities have had. In order for Minorities to compete in a specific Industry, the Government has created programs, and if utilized correctly, can help advance a Minority Owned Business.

One of those programs, and the largest one at that, is the 8(a) Business Development Program.


  1. The 8(a) program has been dedicated 5% of all Federal procurement budgets. This means that $18.5 Billion dollars a year is reserved for 8(a) certified firms.
  2. Sole-Sourcing Contracts: This is the most attractive to me. $8.5 Billion Dollars is given to sole source awards. That is, a firm does not compete with any other firms. Even 8(a) firms. It is awarded solely to them. (More on how to get sole-source awards toward the bottom).
  3. Competitive 8(a): The remaining 10 Billion  Dollars are up for bidding between 8(certified) firms only.

More on Sole Source Awards:

In order for an 8(a) firm to be eligible for sole source awards, they need to have experience in the 8(a) program and plenty of it.  The Government wants to make sure that the sole source awards are given to firms who have been successful in the program and can handle the work load given to them.

How do you get sole source awards?

First, new firms need to gain experience by entering joint venture agreements with other firms or by entering mentor-protege agreements provided the 8(a) firm does 40% of the work and makes 40% of the profits. By working this way for some time, it helps the firm in to becoming a Federal Prime Contractor. Once you have worked as a prime contractor and proven yourself, you will then be able to get sole source contracts.

Limits for Sole Source Contracts:

1. $4 million fir products/services

2. $6 Million for manufacturing

I hope the above explained the REAL benefits in getting an 8(a) Certifications. It is not easy by all means but if there is a will, there is a way.

Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.

The SBA 8A Certification


In our last article, I spoke about the 2 main reasons why a Women Owned Business should become Federally certified as a WOSB. The 8a certification, although has similar reasoning, there is one particular trait about it which makes it very special.
MONEY…. 23% of all Government contracts are required to be awarded to 8a certified firms. That is, all federal agencies, departments of agencies etc. are required by the Federal Government to give almost a quarter of their contracts to only 8a certified firms. This not only reduces the competition significantly it levels the playing field so that Small Business may complete more fairly.
Why Should Businesses Apply?
During the first term of the Obama administration, $376.2 billion in contracting dollars went to Small Businesses.  This is a $48.1 billion increase over the four preceding years even as we have reduced contracting spending overall. This tells us that the Government wants to help Small Businesses by giving them new opportunities to grow.
The Process:
The 8a process for those who have attempted it, know that it is quite lengthy. The average time it takes to complete the certification will vary between 20-40 hours depending on the business structure, its owners etc. Some of our clients who have attempted to complete it themselves have decide to hire us instead to avoid the headache of trying to understand the complexity of the program.
What We Do For You:
We ONLY consult with Los Angeles based companies. That keeps us local and will allow us to give the best service to our clients. They know we are just a few miles away and can call or meet with us as often as they would like.
*If you would like to learn more about the 8a certification, please visit the 8a LINK HERE:

Paul Mazbanian


535 N. Brand Blvd. Suite 245

Glendale, CA 91203

Tel: 818-551-9400

Fax: 877-636-3792

The SBA Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Contracting Program.



Last year, I wrote about the basics of contracting and the 2 main Federal Certifications available to Small Businesses, the 8a Federal Contracting Program and the WOSB Program. In this article, I will be writing specifically about the Women Owned Small Business Contracting Program or the WOSB for short.

It is important to first understand that the Federal Government authorizes contracting officers to specifically limiting, or setting aside, certain requirements for competition solely between Women Owned Businesses. The Federal government MUST award 5% of its prime and subcontract dollars to women-owned small businesses.

What does this mean?

A whole lot of money. Since 5% of all funds must be awarded to Women Owned Businesses, only those who are recognized by the SBA as a Women Owned Small Business will be allowed to bid on these contracts. Hence, resulting in much less competition with a greater chance of winning the job. In addition, each Federal agency negotiates annual small business goals with the Small Business Administration (SBA) that presents, for that agency, the maximum practicable opportunity for small businesses.

The top 2 reasons Women Owned Businesses should become WOSB Certified:

1. If you are a women and own a business who may contract with the Government, this is a great way to increase your customer base and revenues. Think of it as a sorority you will belong to that only a hand full of businesses are a part of.

2. Whether you will be contracting with the Government or not, it is a great way to market your firm to potential customers as a Federally Certified Women Owned Small Business. Who wouldn’t want to do business with a Federally Certified Agency?

How SBC Consultants Helps you:

We have been trained by the SBA, which means that we have taken everything they do and applied it to our own clients. We know the ins and outs of the program and guarantee our clients CERTIFICATION. Visit our website today to see how we can help you become certified.

Paul Mazbanian


SBC Consultants Inc.

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What to Expect in 2013:

As 2012 passes us by and 2013 becomes reality, Business Owners are wondering what changes will take effect be in 2013 compared to 2012. Our answer is simple, a lot of the same old same old.

 Business Loans:

  • Lenders are always introducing new programs to entice Business Owners to apply, but the lending guidelines will not change. That is, as our April 18, 2012 article ( states, the 5 C’s of credit will very much be in effect. Lenders will continue to be strict in order to minimize their risk.

Business Certifications:

  • While lending guidelines continue to remain tight, Business Owners SHOULD always be thinking of ways to grow their customer base. Certified Companies will always have more opportunities then non-certified companies. That is, the Government has reserved new opportunities only to those businesses that are certified. Intern, those who are not certified will not be able to bid on that job. Here is a link to our Certifications page, we hope you will find it helpful. 


Government Contracting Basics

Are you currently bidding on contracts or maybe you would like to get into the game of bidding on contracts? Below are several reasons for any business to have a certification.

Businesses who DO bid on contracts

Businesses who do bid on contracts will find that becoming certified by the State or the Federal Government will allow them to bid on new opportunities not available to them otherwise. Both the State and Federal Government set aside funds for certified companies. State and Federal agencies are required to designate a percentage of their contracts to certified agencies. Being certified not only increases your chances of getting new contracts, but it allows you to do it with less competition thus increasing your chances of winning the bid.

For Example: If there are 1000 machinists in the city they would all be able to bid on a particular contract that the Government makes available. Some are larger then others, therefore giving them the advantage of underbidding their smaller competitors and winning the bid. What if from those 1000 machinists only 100 were certified with the Government as a Small Business? If you were one of the 100 certified, you would only be competing against 99 competitors rather then 1000, thus significantly increasing your chances to compete in a fairer playing field.


Business who DO NOT bid on contracts

During time of uncertainty, consumers are looking to do business with people they can trust. Money is scarce nowadays and people are weary about spending as frequently as before. Gaining a new customer is the most difficult business activity. This is because you as the service provider must convince the consumer that not only are you trustworthy, bur rather you can get the job done at a reasonable price.

What makes someone choose one service over another? Most of you would say price is a key deciding factor, which is true but people are willing to pay a little more for quality. For instance, a friend of mine owns an insurance company (he mostly sells business and personal insurance). After having multiple discussions with him regarding his business, he consistently tells me that he is not the cheapest price in town. The reason for his success has been due to the legitimacy he has been able to establish amongst his peers. People are willing to pay a little extra for his knowledge knowing that they will get unmatched service.

Imagine for instance that you need to purchase a custom made machine from a manufacturer. You have two options: 1. A company that has been in business for 5 years or 2: A company that has been in business for 5 years and is Federally Certified.

Being designated as a certified business with the State or Federal Government gives you more legitimacy!


As Small Business owners we all need help to get ahead and becoming certified with the State or Federal Government will allow you to significantly increase future revenues. Visit our Certification link HERE.


Paul Mazbanian (2011 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Los Angeles District Office)
SBC Lending

Loans for New and Existing Businesses

The subject of our first article was about the 5 C’s of Credit (Character, Capital, Capacity, Collateral, and Conditions). In addition to credit, lenders are looking for businesses that are financially stable, which I will discuss below.

Existing Businesses

Lenders prefer to do business with existing companies due to their multiple years in business. Lenders prefer this route because they can track the progress an existing business has made over the years, which is done in multiple ways:

  1. Collecting previous years tax returns
  • Tax returns are the only official document which allows the lender to see how much a company has made in the past. Cash flow is a term used by lenders to determine pay back ability. Gross receipts will show the sales of a company, but the net income will show the companies profit after expenses.
  • In some cases, companies are making more then is being reported to the IRS. A few weeks ago, a client who owns a coin laundry business contacted me for a loan. Client claimed to make over $1,000,000 in sales. His tax returns however showed revenues of $20,000 and a net loss of ($10,000). When I asked the client what happened to the $1,000,000 in sales, he replied “we are a cash business and don’t report the income.” As you can imagine, this was a problem. Since he is receiving cash, he is not reporting the income to the IRS and therefore it is not being reflected on their business tax returns. Since the tax returns are the only reputable report to verify income, the lender can not take his word on his total sales.

        2.  Financial Statements

  • The profit and loss statement: During any given year when the company has not yet filed for their taxes, the profit and loss statement will allow us to see the year to date revenues and expenses of the company. This will give us a good idea how the company pairs up compared to previous years. I would ask this document to be prepared by a CPA  for authenticity.
  • The balance sheet: It will give us a good idea where the company stands with their assets and liabilities thus giving us the eventual net worth of the company. This document is important to see how the company manages its debt. It will show all assets compared to its liabilities giving us either a negative or positive. A negative net worth tells us that the company has more debts then assets which means they owe more then they own. A Positive net worth tells us the company owns more then it owes. This should also be verified by a CPA.

The above mentioned items will allow us to get a grasp of a companies pay back ability. There are however, other documents needed while processing a loan. They include but are not limited to:

  1. Business debt schedule
  2. Personal financial statement
  3. Personal Tax returns

New Businesses

Since new businesses can’t provide tax returns from previous years, it is crucial to have excellent credit and a sound business plan when applying for a loan. All new business owners must realize that having great credit is crucial when requesting for financing. The following two items are just two of the most important items needed for New Businesses. However, when getting a loan package together there will be additional items requested.

Needed Items

   1.  Credit

  • As our previous article states, credit will determine how risky you are to a lender. Hence, having a low credit score will give a lender the impression that you are not trustworthy. Therefore, understanding your credit report, how much you owe on credit cards relative to the limits on those cards are important. Lenders will take in to consideration how much debt an individual already has. The lower debt you have the less of a risk you are to lenders.
  • Also, having a high credit score does not necessarily mean that you will get approved. The days of approving based on your score are over. Lenders now are more interested on what makes up your credit score and will want to make certain that your credit report is clean.
  • Example: I received a call from a client who had just moved to the states a few years ago. He does not have any credit cards but does have a vehicle he is leasing. He has never been late on his payment. His credit score is a 720, a respectable score by today’s standards. The client wanted to start a business with some money he had been saving and inquired about a Small Business Loan. When I asked for his credit report, I saw that it wasn’t much of a report. The only reported credit he had was the lease on his vehicle. I advised the client not to apply for a loan, but rather begin building his credit by obtaining small credit cards. By using and paying them off every month, he would have established credit slowly. He did however decide to apply for the loan and not take my advice. He was declined!
  • Why did this happen? The main reason for the decline was due to lack of credit history. The client did not have enough credit at the time for an approval. Lenders are looking for business owners to have a good amount of years behind them borrowing and paying off debt.

2.   Business Plan

  • A business plan is crucial for start up companies because it is the only way to show a lender how they will be repaid. Thus, creating a sound business plan will be crucial in obtaining any type of financing. A business plan should explain everything about the business and its owners. A business plan can be the determining factor of an approval or a decline.
  • Creating a Business Plan takes effort and time. Our last article outlined the Table of Contents we feel is crucial in creating a great business plan.
  • Please visit our business plan link on our website

Paul Mazbanian (2011 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Los Angeles District Office)
SBC Lending